The Weekly Wonk is a summary of Oklahoma Policy Institute’s events, publications, blog posts, and coverage. Numbers of the Day and Policy Notes are from our daily news briefing, In The Know. Click here to subscribe to In The Know.
This week, we explained how Oklahoma agencies have $6.7 million less in funding than originally budgeted, after lawmakers’ attempt to divert money from Oklahoma’s Promise scholarships was revealed to be unconstitutional. We introduced the Oklahoma Public School Resource Center (OPRSC), which provides schools with a variety of resources they would otherwise be unable to afford.
We shared information about the Oklahoma Native Assets Coalition (ONAC), including details of its upcoming conference on July 15. ONAC provides free training and technical assistance to tribes in Oklahoma that wish to design and implement various asset-building programs. Kate Richey’s work on behalf of OK Policy with the Oklahoma Assets Network can be found here.
Executive Director David Blatt’s Journal Record column and a blog post by policy analyst Carly Putnam discussed the extension of Insure Oklahoma, which provides health insurance to low-income Oklahoman workers and families. We’ve written before about how Insure Oklahoma could be used to cover the state’s low-income uninsured long-term if we would accept federal funds to extend it. In our Editorial of the Week, the Tulsa World noted that the extension of Insure Oklahoma is only the first step in making sure thousands of Oklahomans don’t go without health coverage.
An editorial in The Oklahoman used OK Policy data to argue in favor of greater state support for Oklahoma’s public universities. A letter to the editor in the Norman Transcript cited OK Policy while calling for the state government to accept federal funds to expand health coverage.
Quote of the Week
“The sad truth is that the state budget has become dependent on using one-time funds in good times and bad. Oklahoma’s economy has been expanding for more than three years, yet legislators tapped nearly $1 billion in nonrecurring revenues over that period — some appropriately so, but most not — to spend more than the amount certified.”
– Oklahoma state treasurer Ken Miller, speaking out against the overuse of one-time funds and cuts to recurring revenues in the state budget (Source: http://bit.ly/1jXUlT1)
Numbers of the Day
- 25 minutes – Average wait for emergency room patients in Oklahoma before they are seen by a doctor.
- 97,617 – Number of Oklahoma K-12 students that qualified for special education programs during the 2011-12 school year.
- 31.4% – Percentage of Oklahomans living in areas with concentrated poverty in 2010.
- 1,712 – Number of utility-scale wind turbines in Oklahoma as of 2013.
- 260 – Number of organ and tissue transplants in Oklahoma in 2013. As of March 7, there are 897 Oklahomans on a waiting list for a transplant.
What We’re Reading
- The Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby decision does not erase most of the reproductive health gains achieved by the Affordable Care Act, Vox explains.
- The Immigration Policy Center discusses how the United States’ three- and ten-year bans on immigration applicants are keeping families apart.
- Vox shares how the $3.7 billion would be spent that President Obama has requested to address the migrant children crisis.
- A report by Good Jobs First examines what metro regions are doing to end job piracy, where companies play nearby communities off each other for escalating subsidies.
- FiveThirtyEight argues that as economics and demographics of migration in America shift, immigration has changed much faster than the immigration debate.